One of the least heralded artists on the tiny Fortune label, Johnny Buckett was not only one of the few White artists on the Detroit-based label, but also the lone White gospel artist to see a release. This is odd, simply because Fortune recorded little in the way of non-secular music and was primarily a Black rhythm & blues label, releasing the occasional country record. Buckett, with his Cumberland Valley Boys and Girls, was the lone exception to the rule.
Born in Clarksville, Tennessee, Buckett (real name: John Chisenhall) started playing guitar and singing at the age of 12. The inevitable migration North by his family got him onto the burgeoning radio and honky tonk circuit of the late 1940s and early '50s, working gigs in Kentucky, Michigan, and his native Tennessee. He kept sustaining radio broadcasts going for a number of years on stations WEXL, WHAS and Detroit's WJR. While broadcasting over WJR, he came to the attention of Fortune label owner Jack Brown, who recorded him and suggested the name change to Johnny Buckett. With a voice highly reminiscent of the deep timbres employed by Ernest Tubb, Buckett's plain-as-a-barn-door approach to gospel favorites is an unvarnished delight.